Spring Pics With Chicks - 5 questions to ask before booking

Daylight savings time is here, and besides a week of waking up late and being groggy, we also get to enjoy an extra hour of daylight.  The snow is starting to melt and the sun begins to feel nice instead of distant.

With Easter around the corner, many of us with small children are getting geared up for Spring pictures.  There is nothing cuter than your wee one in a garden shot holding a fluffy chick. It generates all sorts of ooh’s and ahh’s and smiles.  As a parent, or doting relative, you may be so focused on the cuteness of the moment that the fact that these props are actually living creatures and will grow up to become chickens may not be on the radar.  Asking a few basic questions before signing up for the shoot can not only make your experience more memorable, it could actually save the life of the little one that is adding so much to your Spring photo shoot.

1. Where do the chicks come from?
Asking this puts the photographer on alert that you know these are living creatures and care about their welfare.  If the birds do not belong to the photographer and come from a local farm or hatchery find out how they are cared for.  Baby chicks need to be kept warm and have special requirements to be healthy even for short periods of time. They can actually die from stress of being moved into a different environment.  If you don’t see a safe, warm place and food and water - beware.

2. What happens to the chicks after the shoot?
Ideally these are chicks that the photographer is raising and when you go to the shoot location you will see both the babies and the mama.  However, this is rarely the case. We need to understand that these chicks are baby chickens. Does your photographer have a home for the babies when the Spring rush is over?

3. What are you doing to keep the chicks healthy?
If you ask this question and get a blank stare, find another photographer.  Any baby requires special care and chicks are no exception. Ask what type of feed they are given and how often the chicks are rotated so that they aren’t over stressed.

4. While at the shoot, pay attention to how the chicks behave.
Chicks that are peeping loudly are cold, stressed and uncomfortable.  Chicks that are lethargic could be sick. If possible, visit the shoot and the photographer before booking and see how they interact with the babies

5. The big question - “What breed are the chicks?”
Does the photographer know what type they are because their breed can be an indicator of their ability to handle “stressors”?  Again - no response, or a shrug is a definite clue that your photographer may not be adequately educated about their “props”.  While this is not a requirement, combining this question with the others will give you an accurate picture of the conditions the babies are living in.

Many photographers will be very thoughtful about the above and welcome your questions as they too care about the welfare of these wonderful and vulnerable, babies.  Ideally, they will even have an assistant that will ensure the baby birds are healthy and not stressed during your photo shoot.  Sadly, not all will, so asking these basic questions before booking will help to make the experience a memorable one and encourage photographers to properly care for the chicks in their shoots.

If there are no questions, there is no accountability. 

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